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Somewhat out of the loop over the weekend...however, I read enough to determine that Obama, the military-intelligence complex and Congress are about to, once again, attack (punish) a middle eastern nation which poses absolutely no threat to the United States.
It's what we do now.....and it could be all that the United States government is capable of agreeing on doing in the first half of the 21st century. Attacking nations who pose no threat to the United States appears to be the lone bipartisan policy around which Democrats and Republicans can agree.
Unemployment has threatened Americans for 5 years.....unaffordable health care and health insurance have threatened Americans for decades.....the Bankster Caper not only threatened Americans with their toxic weapons of greed and fraud, but drew metaphorical blood in millions of families.....and yet.....the U.S. government, primarily but not exclusively because of resistance by conservatives, is now incapable of confronting those non-imaginary threats here in the, you know, "homeland."
The excellent blogger Digby linked yesterday to this James Fallows piece about Syria. It's worth reading in it's entirety. Before reading Fallows' piece, I didn't really have a clue as to why and when the Syrian "rebellion" actually began. It seems as if Syria's problems are a direct result of climate change.....
Syria has been convulsed by civil war since climate change came to Syria with a vengeance. Drought devastated the country from 2006 to 2011. Rainfall in most of the country fell below eight inches (20 cm) a year, the absolute minimum needed to sustain un-irrigated farming.
In some areas, all agriculture ceased. In others crop failures reached 75%. And generally as much as 85% of livestock died of thirst or hunger. Hundreds of thousands of Syria’s farmers gave up, abandoned their farms and fled to the cities and towns in search of almost non-existent jobs and severely short food supplies.
So tens of thousands of frightened, angry, hungry and impoverished former farmers flooded constituted a “tinder” that was ready to catch fire. The spark was struck on March 15, 2011 when a relatively small group gathered in the town of Daraa to protest against government failure to help them. Instead of meeting with the protestors and at least hearing their complaints, the government cracked down on them as subversives.
Whatever your view on climate change.....do you see the possibility in the future of what is happening right now in Syria being repeated in many, many other countries?
Now the politics. After England's parliament rejected the Obama/Cameron plan to attack Syria.....Obama needed cover to start launching missiles into yet another middle eastern nation which posed no threat to America. And even though the Obama White House still claims that the president has the authority, with or without congressional approval, to unilaterally attack nations of his/her choosing........President Obama has now decided to seek approval from Congress.
If Congress approves attacking another non-threatening middle eastern nation....and I expect Congress will eagerly do so.....then any future blame for effups (see: Iraq) can't be exclusively laid at the feet of the president. It's exactly what Junior Bush did in 2002 while defrauding and deceiving Congress and the American people over imminent threats from Iraq. The Bushies later, and often, pointed to that congressional approval as evidence that George, Dick, Don and Condi didn't really go it alone in Iraq.
If Congress decides to reject Obama's attack-Syria plan.....a very unlikely outcome.....then the White House can simply claim that a failed congressional vote can only be attributed to GOP 'Obama Derangement Syndrome' and is yet another example of a record-setting Do-Nothing Congress obsessed with making America's first black president fail.
Sure, legally, constitutionally......in matters of waging war, the Commander-in-Chief is supposed to consult Congress, asking for their approval. And many on the right and the left are today praising Obama for his willingness to seek congressional approval. But as you might know, after 9-11-01 the Constitution, international treaties, etc......became entirely optional.
The 4th amendment once meant something.....after 9-11....not so much. The U.S. was against torture and offshore gulags before we were trained to be in favor of those evil practices. The American people were against a unitary, go it alone, executive.....until Junior Bush and the Gang convinced us after 9-11 that we could no longer afford that luxury. We needed a king who was above all law because "everything had changed."
Finally, in my limited weekend reading, one writer suggested that the United States.....as the world's lone superpower.....is going through an embarrassing insecurity problem when it comes to Syria. Which seems odd.
But, let's be honest.....the United States has been mucking a lot of stuff up over the past 12 years. Failing at home and showing our true natures abroad. The question naturally arises.....can the U.S. get anything right anymore? Has America permanently lost it's way?
That insecurity at leadership levels is now leading our country to stoop to attacking a pissant country......much as any unpopular bully would do......to convince itself of it's own superiority over pissants.
It's highly embarrassing.